Mar 07, 2022
From manufacturing to packaging, PFAS are getting into cosmetics, clothes, and food even when companies are not intentionally adding the chemicals.
Toxic PFAS are often added into consumer products to make items stain- or water-resistant. But mounting evidence indicates that many products made without the intentional addition of PFAS are also contaminated.
Researchers say these products may unintentionally become contaminated with PFAS, short for per- and polyuoroalkyl substances, during the manufacturing or distribution process, raising concerns about entry points of PFAS into the supply chain that are not yet fully understood.
PFAS are linked to negative health outcomes including some cancers, reproductive problems, and birth defects, among others. Some manufacturers, such as cosmetics companies, will disclose the addition of the chemicals so consumers can determine their own exposure.
What’s harder to avoid, however, are those products that contain PFAS even when the manufacturers themselves may not know. Because of the widespread use of PFAS across industries, there are many ways that these “forever chemicals” can contaminate consumer goods—including manufacturing lubricants and coatings, misidentied raw materials, pesticides, personal protective equipment, and plastic packaging.